Texas has some of the most draconian marijuana laws in the United States. Possession of small amounts can result in 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine. And of the 60,000 people who get arrested on marijuana charges there, 98 percent are popped for simple possession. Reason says "penalties extend beyond the immediate criminal sanctions, too."
"Criminal penalties for drug possession, even marijuana, come with a lifetime of collateral consequences. That's hindered access to education, employment, housing, your driver's license is suspended for 6 months," says [Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy]. "With those of us in Texas supportive of our Second Amendment protected rights, our license to carry in Texas is suspended for five years."
That could change, now that the Republican Party of Texas is supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. The proposed penalty would be a civil fine of $100 or less.
The change complements efforts being made on the local level in Texas. In December 2017, the city of Dallas dispensed with arresting people on misdemeanor marijuana charges. Kim Ogg, district attorney for Harris County (which includes the city of Houston) has gone even further. As of March 2017, her office is declining to prosecute most marijuana offenses and instead diverting people into "cognitive decision-making classes."
Image: Mitch M/Shutterstock
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